Hillary Clinton on Saturday reportedly blamed FBI Director James Comey for slowing her presidential campaign when he raised questions about her use of a private email server days before the election, even though the agency cleared her of wrongdoing months earlier.
After reviewing thousands of emails earlier this year and declining to bring criminal charges against Clinton, Comey released a letter at the end of October announcing that the agency had found additional emails and was reviewing them. The FBI provided no information about the emails at the time, and Trump used the announcement to fuel speculation that Clinton had done something wrong.
Comey went against Justice Department policy in releasing the letter to Congress.
Just over a week later, days before Election Day, Comey released a second letter saying the FBI had found nothing new in the emails and would not change its recommendation not to bring charges.
Clinton claimed the second letter, which cleared her once again of wrongdoing, was more harmful than the first, according to multiple reports. Navin Nayak, head of the Clinton campaign’s opinion research division, also made that point to staffers in an email sent Thursday.
“We believe that we lost this election in the last week,” Nayak’s email, which was obtained by Politico, said. “Comey’s letter in the last 11 days of the election both helped depress our turnout and also drove away some of our critical support among college-educated white voters—particularly in the suburbs. We also think Comey’s 2nd letter, which was intended to absolve Sec. Clinton, actually helped to bolster Trump’s turnout.”